Originally founded by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation in 1995, the idea of Random Acts of Kindness Day has grown in popularity ever since. It's celebrated by individuals, groups and organizations throughout the USA and worldwide, to encourage acts of kindness and spread happiness through communities.
Indeed, Random Acts of Kindness day is 24 hours when people really have the chance to spread love and happiness to as many people as possible. But why should we be kind to others? Well, the power of kindness and its benefits are many.
In fact, random acts of kindness lead to scientifically-proven positive feelings, both for the giver and the receiver. Plus, happiness is contagious, so it creates a ripple effect. So, this Random Acts of Kindness Day – and every day come to think of it – try some of these 22 ideas and put a smile on someone's face!
We’re all human, but in today’s society it’s not easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger without them doubting your intentions. But if you spot a someone in the street with a lovely smile, face, beautiful jacket – or anything else that piqued your interest – let them know? They’re sure to be flattered by your compliment and you might even develop a deeper conversation, friendship, or romance!
Traveling to or from work on public transport is rarely pleasant, especially if you're stuck on your feet (worse still, with someone's armpit in your face – ugh!). On your next bus or metro ride, if you’re lucky enough to have a seat, gift it to a stranger who looks like they need it more than you. The happiness you get from this random act of kindness will make standing just that little bit more bearable.
“Random acts of kindness lead to scientifically-proven positive feelings, both for the giver and receiver.”
Do you have a favourite memoir, work of fiction, or self-help book that’s inspired you or made you LOL? Instead of letting it gather dust on your bookshelf, pass those powerful pages onto someone you think could benefit from the words and messages inside. Ask that once they’ve finished the book, they pass it on, too, spreading the kindness even further. Result.
Words work: gift a book and happiness
In this increasingly busy world, it seems there’s never quite enough time to keep up with all the loved-ones in our lives. However, Random Acts of Kindness Day is the perfect opportunity to make time. Call or Skype a family member of friend you’ve been meaning to get in touch with. Don't forget to tell them you love them: those three words will always brighten someone's day.
RELATED: The Good Cards
Trash is a blight on the neighborhood and a real eyesore. If you spot some rubbish on the floor, just take a few seconds to pick it up and place it in a bin. For a deeper effect, join a litter-picking session at your nearest park or beach: this activity benefits the community as a whole and also provides you with a chance to meet new people. Double win.
A quick, easy and fun random act of kindness idea, write some uplifting messages on sticky notes and leave them randomly on your travels. Or, get specific, and leave a sticky smile or note of love for a colleague, housemate, partner, or a family member. It's quick, cute and funny.
Stick it to them: leave a happy Post-it note on Random Acts of Kindness Day
Research suggests that listening to the music we love helps us to be kinder, creative and more helpful. Share your favorite track on social media and maybe you can help spread joy or even introduce your friends to some new sounds they will fall in love with.
Giving money to the homeless isn’t always such an easy decision: will they use it for a hostel or food or will they spend it on alcohol or drugs? And if they do the latter, would that help or hinder their happiness? Sometimes we question if the person is even homeless at all. As an alternative to giving money, leave some fruit, nuts, or a sandwich – something nutritious. Or, leave some warm clothing, a clean blanket or hygiene supplies.
RELATED: The power of kindness
Imagine having thousands of people walk past you daily, deliberately avoiding your gaze or even looking at you with contempt. Without the right safety nets, any one of us reading this could become homeless. Take a few minutes to chat with homeless people about their lives: what's their name? How did they end up here? Do they have a place to sleep? It will certainly make them feel just that little bit more human.
“Leave a sticky smile or note of love for a colleague, housemate, partner, or a family member. It's quick, cute and funny.”
Forget flowers (they die pretty quickly!). Plants can be cheap and very cheerful. They are natural pick-me-ups and, because they need care to survive, encourage the nurturing side of humans. Buy one for a friend or work colleague, or even give it anonymously to increase the mystery of this random act of kindness. Or, why not be kind to yourself and treat yourself to a beautiful plant: go on, you deserve it!
Bloomin' marvelous: be kind and give a plant
As spring approaches, it’s a great chance to have a big refresh. So, clear out your wardrobe and cupboards and donate a bag of your bits to your preferred charity shop. For the full double deed of kindness, while you’re dropping off your donation, consider buying something as well. Buying more from charity shops instead of new is good for the environment.
Another cool random act of kindness idea is to use your creativity to change someone’s day. Leave a poem, mandala, drawing, painting or doodle somewhere in the community at let someone randomly discover it. The surprise will be sure to put a grin on their face.
“Plants are natural pick-me-ups, because they need care to survive and encourage the nurturing side of people.”
Whip up some sweet treats in the oven and bring them into the workplace to share with your colleagues (yes, even those colleagues that you don’t always get along with – show some compassion on Random Acts of Kindness Day!). The fact that you’ve made something to share personally will make all the difference, too.
Remember snail mail? Remember the joy of seeing a handwritten letter land on your doormat? In this digital age, it happens less and less, so change that on Random Acts of Kindness Day. It doesn’t matter if you’re not away on holiday: even if you're at home, buy a nice postcard, a stamp, and spend a couple of minutes penning some loving lines to someone you care about.
Postcard it forward: make some mail
Skip Amazon for the day. Support your nearby community by buying something from a local, independent store rather than an online shop or chain store. OK, it may be a little more expensive but your purchase will help support local businesses and their families. Better still, make it a gift for someone else and you’ve killed two kindness birds with one stone.
Make Random Acts of Kindness Day a day free of judgement: in thoughts, words, and actions. Don't let your fears or insecurities affect how you're thinking.
RELATED: Kindness: a peak inside the power of this simple action
When buying or ordering something, we often fail to engage fully with those that are serving us that counter. So, on Random Acts of Kindness Day, next time you stop for petrol, a coffee or for food, ask your server how their day is going, what time they clock off, or compliment them on something. And certainly don't browse the net or chat on your mobile phone: that's just rude.
Service with a smile: connect with those that serve
If you haven’t done so already, be kind to yourself and the environment by ensuring all your lightbulbs in your home are energy efficient. While they may seem more expensive, in the long-run, switching to energy efficient lighting is one of the best ways to cut your energy bill. Plus, you don’t have to replace them so often. Easy.
”Support your nearby community by buying something from a local, independent store rather than an online shop or chain store.”
Research suggests that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. If you have elderly neighbours, pop round to chat over a cup of tea. Or, if you see a senior in a shop or street and there’s a way to engage with them, do so. Sometimes, the elderly don’t speak to people for days on end and their only contact is through going shopping. Consider inviting an elderly neighbor in for a coffee to chat; you're sure to learn something from them, too.
Help the aged: connect with your elders
A tried and tested idea for an act of random kindness, offering to pay for the caffeine fix of someone else in the queue is an inexpensive and easy way of spreading some cheer. It's quick and gets immediate results (mine's a soya cappuccino, thanks!).
Twitter and Facebook can be full of negativity, bitter trolls and oneupmanship. At the same time, we often get in the habit of breezing through social media posts and articles without actually reading things properly. Change all that by being nice. If you read a social media post or a well-written article that touches you, take a few seconds to leave a positive comment and let the author know. They will really appreciate it. Why not start by telling us what you think of this article below?
Speaking of sharing, your last act of random kindness could be to share this article on social media and help to spread love and happiness as far and wide as possible. Let's all try to make a difference together! ●
Main image: Oksana Mizina/Shutterstock.com
How many of these random acts of kindness ideas have you tried? How did they go? Has anyone ever surprised you with one of these tips?
Calvin edits the happiness.com magazine, as well being an artist and lover of swimming, yoga, dancing to house/techno, and all things vintage! Find out more.
Need a change from all the negative news in the media? These feel-good stories from August will lift your spirits. Ed Gould shares his Top Ten
Are you stuck in the happiness trap? From practising gratitude to reaffirming your values, these five science-backed tips from Ed Gould will help you
Need a change from all the negative news in the media? These feel-good stories from July will lift your spirits! Ed Gould shares his Top Ten round-up